Monday, May 23, 2011
Book Review: Secrets of the Heart by Jillian Kent/4 Stars
Madeline Whittington, daughter of the deceased Earl of Richfield, emerges from English society's prescribed period of mourning in the winter of 1817. Madeline believes that she no longer belongs in a world of gossip and gowns after experiencing multiple losses. When she rescues a runaway from Ashcroft Insane Asylum, her life will be forever changed as she discovers the dark secrets within the asylum walls.
Because of his elder brother's unexpected death, Devlin Greyson becomes Earl of Ravensmoore and struggles between two worlds: one of affluence and privilege and one of poverty and disease. Torn between his desire to become a doctor and the numerous responsibilities of his title, he wrestles with God's calling for his future. Will he be able to honor this God-given gift and win the woman he falls in love with in a society that does not value gentlemen who work? And will Lady Madeline be able to honor her father's memory when she is attracted to the man she holds responsible for her father's death?
From the description of this book, I figured I was about to enjoy another wonderful historical novel with a dashing hero and a lovely lady. What I didn't count on was that it was a much better novel than I ever expected to read! Seriously, how many books about insane people have you read? Me, next to none.
I applaud the author for going outside the box and writing such a novel. For years, our society has looked down on people who have mental illnesses, depression, and a whole host of other medical conditions that are frowned upon. This book shared the appalling history of abuse and mistreatment that I'm sure thousands of people suffered in insane asylums for years and years.
In addition to the subject matter, I also liked that the main male character, Devlin, wanted to be a doctor in spite of his societal status. That was something else I've never read before, and it added a whole new dimension to this story. The main female character, Madeline, was nothing out of the ordinary, but her bouts of melancholy did get a little old after awhile. I found myself more interested (at times) in her friend, Hally, and her blossoming relationship with one of Devlin's colleagues.
I'm curious to see what the author will come up with her next installment in this series. I'm hopeful that it will have as interesting of a side story as this one did with the asylum. My rating for Secrets of the Heart is 4 stars.
**Many thanks to the publisher through FIRST Wild Card Tours for providing a copy for review.